This is our sixth annual list of possible breakout players based on Spring Training statistics. We researched the value of Spring Training stats a few years back and it was quite revealing. For the most part, we agree with the common perception that they don’t have value. A bad spring training means nothing. An average spring training tells us nothing. Nevertheless, we did find that when a player has an exceptional spring, it does suggest a better than 60% chance they will take their game up a notch. It applies to teams as well.

We define “exceptional spring” as a positive difference between a hitter’s spring training slugging percentage and their lifetime slugging percentage of 200 points or more.

We analyzed hitters with both a minimum of 200 career regular season at bats and with a minimum of 40 spring training at bats (through spring training games of Tuesday, March 30) and found the following 18 players.

Possible Breakout Players
Slugging Percentage 200+ points better in Spring Training
Hitter, Team Difference Spring Career
Jose Bautista, Blue Jays .484 .884 .400
Mitch Maier, Royals .436 .760 .324
Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals .345 .824 .478
Colby Rasmus, Cardinals .316 .723 .407
Jerry Hairston, Padres .302 .675 .373
Delwyn Young, Pirates .288 .673 .385
Conor Jackson, Diamondbacks .283 .714 .431
Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies .282 .756 .474
Hunter Pence, Astros .272 .760 .488
Gregg Zaun, Brewers .262 .650 .388
Aaron Rowand, Giants .260 .708 .448
Nelson Cruz, Rangers .259 .732 .473
Justin Upton, Diamondbacks .254 .739 .485
Will Venable, Padres .252 .679 .427
Alberto Callaspo, Royals .242 .646 .404
John Bowker, Giants .229 .631 .402
Mike Aviles, Royals .223 .651 .429
Mark Kotsay, White Sox .204 .617 .413

Used with permission from John Dewan’s Stat of the Week™, www.statoftheweek.com.

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Joe Aiello is the founder of View From the Bleachers and one of the lead writers as well as host of VFTB Radio. Growing up in Chicago, he fondly remembers attending games in the bleachers before that was the popular thing to do. Currently Joe resides in North Carolina with his wife and three kids. Connect with Joe via Twitter / Facebook / E-mail